Category Archives: out and about

Introducing {Jonboy Caramels} – and a give-away!

I had a dream – I wanted to shoot naked caramels. And not just any caramels – no, I wanted to shoot my single most favorite caramels of all time. And that is saying A LOT.

Yesterday I had the good fortune of being invited to photograph the production process of one of my very favorite treats – Jonboy Caramels. If you haven’t tried them, I am sorry. I really am. But then again, if you have never had one, you probably don’t have the same issue that I do – the constant craving for more.

Jonboy Caramels are made locally here in Seattle by three very dedicated caramel creators – Jon, Jason, and Carson. These guys spend much of their time at chez caramel creating these delicious bite-sized pieces of bliss. Everything is done by hand, from the cooking to the cutting to the wrapping and the packaging. And let me tell you, this is no small task~

First the caramel is cooked, poured onto the trays, and allowed to set. It is then taken off of the trays in a large sheet. It really is pretty – honestly. Sometimes food makes me giddy. This caramel makes me giddy.

The caramel is then cut – first into strips~

Then into pieces~

Each caramel is then wrapped by hand and put into boxes.

My favorite place to buy Jonboy Caramels is our local farmer’s markets. They are also available at many of our local Whole Foods stores. For those of you not in the Seattle area, they are available online through their website.

Jon was kind enough to answer a few questions so that we could learn a little more about the story behind the caramels~

When did you realize that your destiny would be caramels?
~I don’t think of it as destiny, but I’m definitely enjoying the ride.

How did you get started?
~It got started during the christmas season of 2008 when, feeling poor and creative, I made caramels as gifts for friends and family.

What is your baking and cooking background?
~Baking, I unfortunately have no background. Cooking, well, that kind of started out of necessity when I was young and grew to be something I enjoyed after leaving home.

Did you grow up around it?
~Yes! My sisters are amazing cooks, and, now that I think about it, maybe I do have a baking background because I remember my Mom helping me bake mini-pies.

Is it a new-found talent?
~Making caramels? Yes!

How involved are you in the process of making the caramels?
~It depends. As you might imagine, Christmas and Thanksgiving are when we need all hands on deck and no one gets any sleep. During the rest of the year we’re lucky enough to have Carson’s help, but during apple season, I’m the only one making, dipping and wrapping our caramel apples.

How many people work at Jonboy?
~Three. My business partner Jason, myself and our über talented friend, Carson, who deftly juggles (and appreciates) the flexible schedule that “made to order” caramel and going back to school requires.

Which is your favorite flavor?
~If I HAD to pick a favorite, it would probably be the absithe with black salt.

How much weight have you gained since starting this venture?
~10 lbs

Kidding! sort of… :)
~no kidding

Where would you like to see your business go?
~to the point where Jason and I don’t have to rely on our “day jobs” and can concentrate fully and completely on Jonboy Caramels.

Do you have a plan for growth for the future?
~Yes! Who doesn’t love to grow! But for us, the kicker is balancing a prudent and sustainable rate.

I know that your caramels are available locally right now, as well as online. I have a friend who flies in from Colorado and won’t leave the Seattle area without boxes of Jonboy caramels in her luggage. Would you like to sell around the country?
~Right now, to retain the freshness and quality that we’re obsessed with, it wouldn’t be prudent and sustainable. In the future, yes, we would love to, but for the moment we’ll leave that to ‘destiny.’

Jon at the University District Farmer's Market

One of the things that I love about Jonboy is that they are a local company, operated by local artisans, creating delicious treats right here in our city. I am so drawn to supporting local artisans, farmers, and store owners. I really think it is important. Sometimes it is more expensive to buy local, rather than buying things made off-shore. I know that. But I also see the value in buying local as much as possible – it matters people. Truly. Knowing the people that are supplying the things we eat – the things we put into our bodies – it is valuable. I know we can’t always do it, but when we can, isn’t it worth it?

So, as many of you haven’t tried Jonboy, I am going to give away one delicious box of caramels to three different readers. Trust me – you WANT to win this one. You will most likely try the first, thinking you will share the rest, but after that first bite, you will most likely end up in your bathroom or closet, with the door locked, eating them in secret, so as to not have to share. No? Is that just me? Wow, this is embarrassing…

So, here is the deal.

1. Visit the Jonboy Caramel website
2. Look for their flavor options
3. Come back here and leave a comment with the flavor you would like to win

If you Twitter or Facebook this give-away, you will be entered twice!

I will draw the winners next Thursday~

Have a fabulous Sunday mes amies – and visit Jonboy at the Ballard or West Seattle Sunday Farmer’s markets!
xx

a {spring} weekend

You have no idea how happy I am to be able to write the word spring in reference to the current season. It does seem that it has arrived here in our little corner of the world – at least this weekend. It has been one of those glorious set of days with the perfect mix of family and friends, sunshine and soft breezes, adventure and nesting.

Yesterday #4 and I were invited to spend the day with some of our favorite people. We traveled by ferry to one of our local islands where we spent the day together exploring beaches and coffee shops, visiting with truly special friends, and making new acquaintances.

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather – the sun was shining and it was relatively warm. Bainbridge Island has to be one of the few places that I could TRULY imagine living – creating a home for my sweet family so close to the water, a small community, and the beauty that is island living.

We spent a good part of the day at our friend Liz’s fabulous sale – Seabold Vintage Market. It was crazy-busy! Our sweet friends Joe and Jermonne were there and it was great to be able to spend some time with all of them, as well as to meet so many of their good friends. #4 had the. best. time. with Liz’s daughter – the two of them romping through the woods, riding bikes, and generally running loose in the sunshine. I am pretty sure it will go down as one of his very favorite days spent with a friend.

On our way home on the ferry (at nearly 11 pm…) we remembered that it was a special night for the moon, so we rushed up to the upper deck of the ferry to take photos of it and to look at the stars. #4 also said a special goodbye to Bainbridge, with promises to return soon.

Today I was up early, outside doing a bit of clean-up and starting a bonfire. I had Coco and Chanel out and they too seem to be enjoying the arrival of spring. They spent 20 minutes running in circles, chasing each other and then dashing over to wherever I was on the property to check in. After they tired themselves out they enjoyed the sunshine grazing on the lawns. I can see my mowing time decreasing with the help of these darling girls~

The hens were out scavenging for bugs and various other treats this morning as well. They enjoy stretching their wings, going for short flights, and chasing each other around the farm. I love watching them play, venturing through pastures, over wood piles, and occasionally finding them exploring the barn. I can’t wait for the long, lazy days of summer, lounging in the hammock with a favorite magazine, watching all of the girls (and boys) playing in the pastures. It is coming – I can feel it!

Happy Sunday mes amies,
xx

{Ruffles} & Rust

Good morning and happy Saturday!

It is icy-cold but bright here this morning – not the perfect time to start my running again, but alas, is there ever really a good time to start? We have absolutely nothing on the calendar this weekend so I foresee a lot of cooking and game playing here on the farm. I hope to get the bigs to help me get some work done in the barn and sheep pasture in anticipation of welcoming the baby girls in the coming weeks.

My weekend got off to a great start last night when my girlfriends and I attended the Ruffles and Rust Vintage Flea Market in Monroe, Washington. If you are in the area and like vintage as well as some fabulously handcrafted treasures, I highly suggest that you go today. With over 80 vendors, it is a sale filled with goodness. I brought home a couple of things for the chicken coop as well as some vintage fabric and a couple of ironstone bowls. Some of my sweet friends are selling there as well and I ran into a friend that I had missed a lot and was happy to be able to re-connect with her. It was a wonderful evening and a great beginning to what is sure to be a lovely weekend. Well, after this run, that is…

Have a marvelous Saturday mes amies~
xx

{photos from the booths of the ever-fabulous Seabold Vintage and the gorgeous Tippy Stockton}

a {wonderful} day for the markets

I am a creature of habit. I love routine. I am a comfort food person and more often than not a homebody. If I am going out and about, going somewhere that adds to food or home is always a welcome adventure. The second Saturday of the month is one of my favorites as it adds a second market to my Saturday morning routine.

This morning at Second Saturdayz was fabulous – as usual. I went with a sweet friend whom I enjoy going to things like that with. We are quite like-minded when it comes to home, food, and family. There were a lot of fabulous booths and I could have brought home so many more things than I did… One thing I found that I was excited about, as I had been looking for these exact things for a while now~

They are vintage measuring cups. I have been searching for them as I have been adding jars to my pantry, filled with oats and flours and beans and rice. I needed scoops for them and these cups will be perfect with their little handles!

Our next stop was my favorite Saturday Farmer’s Market. It was a nice treat that the rain held off this morning so that we could take our time in the booths, looking at the gorgeous produce and doing a bit of meal planning. There was a booth with gorgeous tulips – proving that spring really is on the way! I found meat for tonights “Sustainable Saturday” meal and some interesting potatoes. I also bought brussels sprouts which were perfect as I have a FABULOUS recipe in a new (shocking, I know) cookbook that I bought last week. I can’t wait to try it this coming week when we have company coming!

I also bought these GORGEOUS mushrooms – aren’t they interesting and pretty? I bought them because I wanted to take photos, but remembered at the last minute to ask how to actually use them after I shot them… I am thinking of mushroom risotto this week – I will let you know how it turns out~

Have a great rest of your weekend – it is stormy here this afternoon with the wind howling through the trees. We are all nestled indoors with a fire going playing games and listening to it!

xx

the Sunday {farmers market}

I can’t believe how dark it was yesterday! The weather forecast had called for a bit of sunshine this weekend which was nice on Saturday as it was perfect for doing some outside work on the farm. However, it also became abundantly clear that there is a LOT of work to do out there before spring arrives. Thank goodness I love working outside and I have boys who are wonderful at helping with clean-up.

As I didn’t make it to my usual farmer’s market Saturday, I went instead to the Sunday farmer’s market in Ballard. It is a great market filled with local vendors/farmers/artisans. I love the creativity of these people~ I discovered someone who makes tiny molten chocolate cakes in jars – simply take it home, bake, and voila! Mini-cake!

Full-Circle Farm was there with their gorgeous produce. They also offer a weekly produce drop-off service which is a great way to eat seasonally and to expose you and your family to a wide variety of produce.

There were also vendors offering wine (from the winery we visited this summer for a wedding) and amazing-smelling soaps.

If you have an opportunity to visit the Ballard Farmers Market, I highly suggest you do~

Three Cheers for {Saturday}

Hello weekend!

I have been looking forward to this weekend ever since I sent all of my sweet boys back to where they go when it isn’t a holiday or a weekend. While I was happy to get back to our regular family routine, I was also sad to see them go. It had been such a wonderful break and we had a really nice time hanging around the farm together.

I will say that so far, 2011 is pretty much rocking my world. I have had more amazing things happen to me in the past week than in most of 2010 – or any year before it for that matter. I am feeling really blessed and am so excited for what the rest of the year will bring.

One thing I am really excited about has to do with these photos. I can’t tell you what they are for, nor what they will become yet, but I will tell you that I am completely psyched for it!

In keeping with the food theme of the day, (or most days, for that matter…) I was up bright an early today. Actually, bright is inaccurate. Dark. Dark and early. You see, today is my favorite Saturday of the month. Today, not only do I have my regular farmer’s market to visit, but seeing as it is the SECOND SATURDAY of the month, it was time for Second Saturdayz - my favorite monthly vintage market here in Seattle. It was an amazing show today – I brought home a number of great vintage food props that I am excited to use. It really is one of the few places that I can go and consistently find treasures that are both functional and fabulous.

I also went to the farmer’s market in the university district – the same one I go to every week. However, today I had a bit more of a *mission*. Today is officially our first SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY. I had a great time talking to the farmer from whom I bought my potatoes (as well as some gorgeous short ribs for another night), learning about sustainability and ethical treatment of his cows as well as how he runs his farm. I was really impressed and plan to visit him every week! So, for dinner this evening – {insert drumroll please} sustainable shepard’s pie! It is one of my family’s favorite meals and I thought that it would be great to show them that we can have the exact same meal using meat and vegetables from ethical, aware farmers. The fact that it is generally local is also incredibly appealing~

Finally, I want to thank those of you who have donated to building Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels in Africa. I can’t tell you how excited my mom gets whenever she sees that someone has donated. Up until now she really has done all of the fundraising herself, so for her to see people who care enough to help is so very appreciated. For those of you who are still interested, the button is on the top of this page. If you would like the code to put a button on your own page (which would be incredibly appreciated as well!) please let me know!

Wishing you a wonderfully productive weekend my friends~
xx

{saturday} market

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The perfect rainy Saturday morning to go to the market and pick up supplies for an afternoon of cooking and baking~
Enjoy your weekend!
xx

weekend {images}

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We enjoyed a gorgeous weekend here in the pacific northwest. The sun was shining, it was cool, brisk, but beautiful. I took a drive on Saturday to see the beauty of my favorite season. It was gorgeous driving into the valley and seeing the stunning display of color in the hills.
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Sunday was a quiet relaxing day. The littles and I took a field trip – first to collect chestnuts – a seasonal favorite for decorating – and then to the pet store to see what fun creatures were there. We stopped for lunch on our way home and had such a sweet time. (and as an added bonus, daddy had a little quiet time to himself to work on his own projects!)
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I am in full planning mode now that I am officially THREE WEEKS FROM LEAVING FOR INDIA! I spoke with the man who runs the hotel in the first city we are going to yesterday and it really hit me – in three weeks I will be in the midst of a dream of mine. Really? Really???

Have a marvelous week my friends – I shall be studying all of my favorite photographers and searching for some fabulous inspirational travel photography. I am forever grateful for any names you wish to share…

xx

{field trip} to a nursery

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Yesterday I took a much needed girls day and headed north, in the sunshine, with a girlfriend and my camera Ruby.
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It was a gorgeous day, and said girlfriend had a favorite nursery in mind for an afternoon of shooting.
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I think it was exactly what I needed to find some inspiration. There were such gorgeous blooms, incredible old architecture, and it honestly was the perfect autumn day.
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I don’t do that enough. I don’t take the time to enjoy what is around me. I don’t explore the side roads as much as I would like. I am often too busy getting from point A to point B that I forget about the importance of the journey.
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Right now on our chalk board in our kitchen it reads: “Slow down, Look around, Be Grateful”. I want to take that to heart.
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{second saturdayz} is coming!

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As many of you know, this is the time of year that I tend to turn inward. Nesting becomes my motto. I find joy in creating a warm, comfortable home filled with well-loved pieces, happy people, and wonderful food. As we spend so much time indoors I love for our home to be a place where we love to be and the decor is a big part of that.
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One of my very favorite places to find unique treasures is the Second Saturdayz Market here in Seattle. Every month a group of incredible hand-picked vendors come together with some of the most fabulous wares available. If you follow this blog, you are well aware of my love for gray, worn, chippy, industrial pieces. Second Saturdayz is one of those places where I ALWAYS find something fabulous to add to our home. The beauty of this particular market is that there is such a wonderful mix of things – from vintage linens and millenary to mid-century modern, to the good old chippy crap ™ that I am so incredible fond of. There really is something for everyone, and honestly, I can’t speak highly enough of the quality vendors that are there.
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This coming Saturday, September 10th, the Junk Tribe is hosting a Bohemian Vintage Flea. You just KNOW that speaks to me! They will be celebrating the best of what this season has to offer – think harvest, think the smell of burning leaves, apple cider, autumn at its very best!
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This Second Saturdayz event is sure to be one of the best yet! I would love to see you there – I head over first thing in the morning to get an early start on my shopping – please say hello if you are there – I will be the one with the camera in front of her face…
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The market is held at Magnuson Park on Sandpoint Way in Seattle. More information can be found HERE, driving directions can be found HERE!
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I hope to see you there! It promises to be a fabulous time~
xx

friday at the {fair}


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My sidekick and I spent the day at the fair today. It was absolutely gorgeous and I am thankful that I was able to do exactly what he wanted and really enjoy my time with him. It also made me think that I really really really want a goat or two and a sheep – but let’s keep this between you and me, as I think my husband may not be feeling the same way…

Have a marvelous weekend mes amies – I hope you enjoy every moment of this long weekend!
xx

barn house flea market in photos

This past weekend was pretty spectacular. The venue was perfect, the friends – magnificent, and there were endless treasures. It really was like one big ole love-fest. I can’t really find the words to do it justice, but the photos really do speak for themselves. I will tell you I met some wonderful people, one downright precious artist, and of course, got to love on the usual suspects~
Have a lovely week mes amies – I have all sorts of wonderful things in the works right now – I can’t wait to tell you all about them!
bisous
xx









and they lived happily ever after…


and they lived happily ever after…




Yesterday, two of our favorite people shared beautiful vows and began their married life together. It was a really special day all around, and I wanted to share it with you.



Jennifer has been a part of our family for about ten years now. She came into our lives when she was younger than #1 is now – she babysat #s 1 & 2 when they were very young. She has always been incredibly reliable, level-headed, and incredibly loving to our boys. She was the first babysitter that #3 had and by the time he came along, she was a member of our crew.

In high school she had this cute boyfriend – a wrestler – and he was just as easy-going and darling as she was. He soon became a part of our lives and was easy to love. The two of them have always seemed like a comfortable married couple, thus it was never any surprise that they would one day have a wedding of their own. And lucky for us, we were a part of that amazing event yesterday.


Our day began early with a trip to the ferry terminal to catch a ferry. They were to be married on a beautiful and incredibly quaint island off the Washington coast in the San Juan Islands.





We had never been and I was really looking forward to the day trip with my husband and #4 – the only child we had this weekend.


There is something about the west coast ferries that remind me of my childhood. We spent summers traveling from the midwest to Vancouver, BC and then taking the ferry to see my grandparents on a small island in the Canadian Gulf Islands. Those trips are my most treasured childhood memories – days spent on the beach playing on the driftwood, climbing boulders out to the point, finding starfish and other interesting sea treasures that we certainly didn’t have in the midwest. The smell of arbutus, evergreen, and the salty air will forever bring back those memories for me.




This was #4s first real trip on a ferry and he loved it! He ran around the deck, spotting seagulls and sailboats, covering his ears when the horn blew. It was nice to be able to really enjoy the trip with him as we could really focus on the things a four year old would like. We ate junk food – too much junk food – but it was fun.



When the boat docked we had a few hours to meander around the island exploring before we had to be at the winery for the ceremony. We drove to what little village there was, poked around the Saturday market, and then headed to the little bakery and coffee shop to find another treat or two…









{how cute is this guesthouse???}




We also took the time to let #4 run around a bit. We even found two HUGE frogs!





In the late afternoon we found our way to the winery and spent some time visiting with people we hadn’t seen for some time, as well as Jennifer’s family whom we have known for nearly as long as we have known Jen. It was an incredibly casual atmosphere – a garden party – so perfectly Jen and Paul.






The winery was absolutely beautiful – set in the countryside, surrounded by row after row of grape vines, flower gardens, a beautiful fire pit area, as well as arbors and a few lovely buildings.






It was a gorgeous sunny day with a light breeze and just the right temperature. There was a wine bar with wines from the winery set up next to the vines where the grapes for the white wines were grown. Truly magical.





We were able to visit with the beautiful bride and handsome groom – they were so trendy and cute!

{the man hug}


{notice little man playing with the iPhone behind my chair…}



{and again after the ceremony – that thing is a life saver!}

The ceremony itself was magical. It was relaxed, there was a lot of laughter, and the vows were so incredibly touching and heartfelt that I nearly had tears listening to them.







They were surrounded by so much love – people whom they had known forever, family, high school friends, loved ones. They were serenaded by a wonderful song after the ceremony – truly romantic and touching.









If ever two people were in love, it is Jen and Paul. We felt so incredibly honored that they would invite us to share in such a wonderful moment in their lives, and wish for them all of the love, happiness, laughter, and romance that life can bring. We love you!!!







Barracuda Taqueria – my new go-to joint for tex-mex!

Earlier this week, my brilliant friend Annie posted about this incredible Tex-Mex spot in downtown Seattle. Now, this girl is a connoisseur of Tex-Mex – she is the reason for this post.



So, she blogged about this little slice of heaven, and I considered venturing into the city to try it for myself. But before I even had the chance to figure out where they were, I noticed that the owner of said delicious joint had posted on another friend’s facebook page. “How do you know him???” I quickly messaged. She explained that he was the boyfriend of a mutual friend. What?!? How did I now know this??? Me being me, I immediately added him as my friend, he accepted, and today, my girlfriend and I had a lunch date. At Barracuda Taqueria. And let me say – you NEED to go.


Located not far from the Space Needle, it is in a fabulous spot in downtown Seattle. Parking is no problem (for lunch at least).



We first met Brian – twin brother of Nathan (the owner of said incredible establishment) and the MOST HONEST man I have ever known. Truly. Honest.


Annie had mentioned the queso. – something that I (sorry Annie) had never tried. Until today. Dear lord. Divine.


We asked Nathan what he would suggest for lunch, and he said he would put together a mix of various tacos to try. We had a great mix of meat and fish, and, uhm, okay, he brought us a tongue taco. No, of course it doesn’t say “tongue taco” on the menu. But come on, in the end, it is tongue. Aannddd… seeing that I have just been traveling *in France* and eating such worldly things, I thought hey – I can do this. And I tried. And it seems that when one is in their own city, trying new, different things just doesn’t seem to “go down” as easily. Thus, after one. tiny. little. bite., I was done. But I tried. And I have heard that it is very popular – with the tongue crowd I would guess… The shrimp tacos were great though!


Finally, I had to share this sign – after my time in Paris, I found this quite funny~

field trip day


Today we woke to the most glorious sunshine. As I had nothing on the calendar, I was excited to spend the day with my sidekick doing something fun. In preparation for my upcoming France trip, I thought a trip to the french bakery in West Seattle was in order. We enjoyed lunch together there, and then walked down the street to the cupcake shop for a treat!














After the cupcake shop, we drove down to Alki beach. The wind was blowing, creating white caps on the east side of the peninsula, but on the west side it was a bit calmer and we were able to walk along the beach, picking up rocks and shells and sitting on driftwood logs. It was a lovely afternoon~